2020 five-star small forward Scottie Barnes has been a class favorite for quite some time. At 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, the Fort Lauderdale, FL native is considered one of the most versatile prospects in the nation. He has the finesse and athleticism to run the floor and make plays, but the size and strength to fight his way through contact and be a force on the defensive end.
And he has the scholarship offers to back that up.
Though he holds offers from nearly every major blue blood and legendary coach, Barnes has trimmed his list down to eight schools, with Kentucky, Duke, Oregon, Florida State, Syracuse, California, Kansas, and Ohio State.
At session one of Nike EYBL this weekend, the five-star forward updated the media on his recruitment and where he stands in the decision-making process.
As far as specific schools are concerned, the Kentucky Wildcats traveled to Florida to visit Barnes last week.
“They came and visited me last week, we talked about multiple things like the type of program that they have, how I’d have to come in and play hard, and how I could eventually end up being a very good player in the league eventually,” he said. “They produce very good players and help them get to the league.”
When it comes to the Cats, Kentucky head coach John Calipari was front and center in each of Barnes’ games this weekend. Whether the game was at 9:30 a.m. or 5:45 p.m. throughout the event, Coach Cal wanted to make sure his presence was made clear.
“Yeah, I saw him. I definitely saw him,” Barnes said. “It shows that he cares about me, he’s taking time out of his day to watch me the entire game. … It means a lot to me, I saw like three or four of (the schools in attendance). Just that they take the time to watch me, it means a lot. I saw Kentucky, I saw Ohio State, and I saw Florida State. I think that might be the three of them.”
Barnes was also the very first recruit in the class of 2020 to receive an offer from the Kentucky coaching staff, something the elite prospect says he also appreciates.
“It shows that he really sees something in me, he sees that I’m a different type of player and that he really wants me,” he said.
While he appreciates the attention and will take it all into consideration when it comes time for a decision, Barnes was quick to acknowledge that the recruiting process isn’t even on his radar at this point.
When asked about when a decision might come, he said it’s likely going to be late.
“It’s probably going to be late,” he said. “I’m just trying to take my time with all of it. I’m not really worried about it right now.”
When the time does come, Barnes said that he’ll look at style of play and fit with the program as the main two factors in his decision.
“I just need to be comfortable, fit into the program (I go to),” he said. “Seeing their view in what they have for me in the future. … I like the run-and-gun game, getting the ball, rebounding the ball, pushing the floor where I can be able to showcase my talents, handle the ball.”
In the meantime, Barnes is focused on improving his game and working toward becoming the No. 1 player in the class of 2020.
To do that, the consensus top-five prospect said he needs to work on his ball handling and shooting consistency to take that next step further as a player.
“I think I need to tighten my handles a little more, be more consistent on my shot. I need to be able to make shots more consistently and take (more of) them.”
The end goal? To be able to run the point guard position in college, a point of emphasis in some of the recruiting pitches he has heard from various coaches.
“I’m going to just let the game come to me, but I think I’ll be either a three or a one (in college). Depending on the situation,” he said. “College coaches have told me that they think I can transition over at some points in the game to the one.”
Kentucky has been pushing positionless basketball over the last several years, so it’s no surprise he’s going with that pitch for one of the most versatile players in the class of 2020.
Watch his 2018 summer mixtape below: